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Sunday Hymn: Jesus, Priceless Treasure

Jesus, priceless treasure,
Source of purest pleasure,
Truest friend to me.
Ah, how long in anguish
Shall my spirit languish,
Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Naught I ask beside Thee.

In Thine arms I rest me;
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here.
Though the earth be shaking,
Every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear.
Lightnings flash and thunders crash;
Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.

Satan, I defy thee;
Death, I now decry thee;
Fear, I bid thee cease.
World, thou shalt not harm me
Nor thy threats alarm me
While I sing of peace.
God’s great power guards every hour;
Earth and all its depths adore Him,
Silent bow before Him.

Evil world, I leave thee;
Thou canst not deceive me,
Thine appeal is vain.
Sin that once did bind me,
Get thee far behind me,
Come not forth again.
Past thy hour, O pride and power;
Sinful life, thy bonds I sever,
Leave thee now forever.

Hence, all thought of sadness!
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in.
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within;
Yea, whatever we here must bear,
Still in Thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesus, priceless treasure!

— Johann Franck, translat­ed by Catherine Winkworth.

Other hymns, worship songs, sermons etc. posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Joy Akin to Fear

I wrote yesterday that this week’s chapter in Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen had it’s glorious parts. Here’s the proof:

Religion cannot be made joyful by simply looking on the bright side of God. For a one-sided God is not a real God, and it is the real God alone who can satisfy the longing of our soul. God is love, but is He only love? God is love, but is love God? Seek joy alone, then, seek joy at any cost and you will not find it. How then may it be attained?

The search for joy in religion seems to have ended in disaster. God is found to be enveloped in impenetrable mystery, and in awful righteousness; man is confined in the prison of the world, trying to make the best of his condition, beautifying the prison with tinsel, yet secretly dissatisfied with his bondage, dissatisfied with a merely relative goodness which is no goodness at all, …. unable to forget his heavenly destiny and his heavenly duty, longing for communion with the Holy One. There seems to be no hope; God is separate from sinners; there is no room for joy, but only a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.

Yet such a God has at least one advantage over the comforting God of modern preaching — He is alive, He is sovereign, He is not bound by His creation or by His creatures, He can perform wonders. Could he even save us if He would? He has saved us — in that message the gospel consists. It could not have been foretold; still less could the manner of it have been foretold. That Birth. that Life, that Death — why was it done just thus and then and there? It all seems so very local, so very particular, so very unphilosophical, so very unlike what might have been expected. Are not our own methods of salvation, men say, better than that?…. Yet what if it were true? …. God’s own Son delivered up for us all, freedom from the world, sought by philosophers of all the ages, offered now freely to every simple soul, things hidden from the wise and prudent revealed unto babes, the long striving over, the impossible accomplished, sin conquered by mysterious grace, communion at length with the Holy God, our Father which art in heaven!

Surely this and this alone is joy. But it is a joy that is akin to fear. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Were we not safer with a God of our own devising — love and only love, a Father and nothing else, one before whom we could stand in our own merit without fear? He who will may be satisfied with such a God. But we, God help us — sinful as we are, we would see Jehovah. Despairing, hoping, trembling, half-doubting and half believing, trusting all to Jesus, we venture into the presence of the very God. And in his presence we live.


Thankful Thursday

It was another busy summer day and I’m tired. I’m thankful for my comfy bed, for windows that open to let in the breeze, and for window screens to keep out the mosquitoes. 

I’m thankful that there wasn’t really a crack in the dam last night. Yes, someone texted me during the power outage and told me that’s what happened. I didn’t believe it and I’m thankful that it wasn’t true. I’m thankful that God gives us people to design and build dams and to run things there. I’m thankful for our electricity, despite our way-too-frequent outages.

I’m thankful that God kept my family safe through another week. 

I’m thankful that God governs his creation graciously. I’m also thankful that God can save. 

Throughout this year I’m planning to post a few thoughts of thanksgiving each Thursday along with Kim at the Upward Call and others.


Christianity and Liberalism: Chapter 6

Well! I intended to put up a new post last night, and then work on this post, too, but the power went out and stayed out for a couple of hours. By the time it came back on I was ready to put on my jammies and wind down for the night. Then I’d just got things in order this afternoon and settled down on the back deck to blog when the power went out again. Here’s hoping I can get this post on Chapter 6 of Christianity and Liberalism up now, because it’s been hanging over my head for too long. (You remember that I am reading it because I am participating in this round Tim Challies’ Reading Classics Together, right?)

In this chapter, Machen spells out the contrast between the Christian view of salvation and that of modern liberalism. As with all the other doctrines covered so far in this book, the view of modern liberalism and true Christianity on the doctrine of salvation are completely different. I’ve listed some of the contrasting beliefs on the various teachings related to salvation below—not, mind you, in the exact order you’d find them in the book, but in an order that makes sense to me.

  • The purpose of Christ’s death: Christianity teaches that the death of Christ was designed to have an effect upon God, but modern liberalism teaches that it was designed to have an effect only on man.
  • The nature of the atonement: Christianity teaches that Christ’s death is substitutionary for sinner; modern liberalism sees it as merely an example for humankind or a demonstration for us. What’s more, the modern liberal argues that it is an absurd idea for one person to suffer in place of another, while Christianity argues that Jesus could do what he did because he “was no mere man but the eternal Son of God.” 
    It is perfectly true that the Christ of modern naturalistic reconstruction never could have suffered for the sins of others; but it is very different in the case of the Lord of Glory.
  • The exclusivity of the gospel: The Christian gospel “binds salvation to the name of Jesus”; modern liberalism prefers a message  of “right living whatever creed men may chance to have.”
  • The nature of God: Christianity claims that God needs to be reconciled to us; modern liberalism claims that is is only we who need to be reconciled to God.
  • The necessity of the atonement: Christianity teaches that God’s wrath must be appeased; modern liberalism teaches that God can just “let by-gones be by-gones.”
  • The necessity of the new birth: Christianity teaches that we can be saved only by a supernatural work of God; modern liberalism teaches that “the world’s evil may be overcome by the world’s good.”
  • The nature of faith: The faith of Christianity is dogmatic; the faith of modern liberalism is undogmatic.
  • The object of faith: In Christianity, the object of faith is Christ and his work; in modern liberalism the object of faith is our obedience to God’s law.
  • The nature of our hope: The ultimate Christian hope is in the life to come; the hope of modern liberalism is making things better in this world now.
  • The purpose of evangelism: The purpose of Christian evangelism is leading individuals to faith in Christ—the “saving of souls”; in modern liberalism it’s “spreading the blessings of Christian civilization (whatever that may be)….”

What a long, dense chapter this is! But it’s also glorious, especially in Machen’s description of the salvation that comes through Christ. Can you see from the list above why Machen begins the chapter by writing that “Liberalism finds salvation (so far as it is willing to speak at all of ‘salvation’) in man; Christianity finds it in an act of God”?

I’ve decided to post my favourite quote from this chapter tomorrow rather tack it on the end of an already lengthy post. And it’s time for me to go make supper now, anyway.


Theological Term of the Week

recapitulation theory of the atonement
The view, first emphasised by Iranaeus, that Christ came to the earth to reverse the curse of Adam by living the perfect human life, remaining obedient through all the phases of human life, succeeding where Adam failed, and thereby restoring those united with him to the state in which Adam existed before the fall.

  • From Irenaeus, quoted from The Christian Theology Reader by Alister McGrath: 

    But when [Christ] was incarnate and became a human being, he recapitulated in himself the long history of the human race, obtaining salvation for us, so that we might regain in Jesus Christ what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God. 

  • From Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof:  
    Irenaeus, who also expresses the idea that the death of Christ satisfied the justice of God and thus liberated man, nevertheless gave prominence to the recapitulation theory, that is, to the idea, as Orr expresses it, “that Christ recapitulates in Himself all the stages of human life, including those which belong to our state as sinners.” By His incarnation and human life He reverses the course on which Adam by his sin started humanity and thus becomes a new leaven in the life of mankind. He communicates immortality to those who are united to Him by faith and effects an ethical transformation in their lives and by His obedience compensates for the disobedience of Adam.

Learn more:

  1. Got Questions.org: What are the various theories on the atonement?
  2. Frank Griffith: The Nature of the Atonement (pdf)
  3. Reclaiming the Mind Ministries: What is the recapitulation theory of the atonement? (video)

Related terms:

1From Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof

Filed under Defective Theology.

Do you have a term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.